Concerned about fish while traveling
About 15 years ago I had a nice 55gal setup. It was the source of so much enjoyment, and every time I go to an aquarium or even the LFS I feel a longing to get back into the hobby.
The one major thing holding me back is that I travel frequently, sometimes up to ten days out of the country. I really don't have anyone I feel I an fully rely on to monitor or take care of the tank while I am gone.
I would like to start a new tank, but only if I can be confident all the hard work won't be destroyed while I am away.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I have not purchased anything yet, so I can be completely flexible at this point if say a micro were a better idea or if bigger is better. I can compromise on quantity or type of fish and rock and invertebrates.
I also was just looking at a magazine in the LFS that talked about setting up some simple monitoring system like a fail-safe on the temp and a reserve tank for top-offs.
So, to all my new best friends and experts....what do you think?
If you were doing fresh i'd say don't worry. I am also out of the country and out of town for up to 2 weeks often but currently only keeping freshwater. When I had saltwater there were 2 times I can recall while out of town things went wrong in the tank so honestly I would call around to pet sitting services and see if any have people capable of stopping in a few times to check on everything and feed. I have several places in my area that do that .not sure about where you live however. Bigger is always better if trying to maintain good water while gone. Timers are needed for lighting. And if a pet/fish sitter you find says they can watch your tank be sure to really give extremely detailed instructions...and do not attempt a salt setup till you're sure you'll be in town for 2 months to get it all started then stocked and established.
Best of luck
Thanks for the post. I definitely want to do a reef tank, and I always used timers when I had my old tank. But on a 7-10 day trip, can the fish survive by foraging in the tank, or could I add some plant life they can nibble? I used to put lettuce in, but would they consume it all first day? Other choices for particular breed of fish? etc?
I couldn't tell you for stocking..thats so hard to say..and all of it's a tiny more risky when out of town for awhile with a reef set up.. but personally I'm the bull headed type that would try to make it work regardless the risk. First I'd recommend the RKL with the net option so assuming you have internet where you are you know salinity and .well most of the important levels n such. I wish they had that when I did salt. Don't get auto feeders or any auto top off equipment. Too much chance of failure. Feed whatever you choose to stock extra the week prior to leaving and then seriously you'll need to inquire about a pet sitter and have RO water ready for them to top off and portion out food for the days you have someone hired to come. And for coral.. I'd say do the balling method for proper salinity , calcium, alkalinity and magnesium using 3 canisters.. Can't really say how exactly to do that because I 1..did salt 20yrs ago.. 2. didn't keep coral.
Best of luck..I hope you figure it out and post pic :-)
Now a days there are tons of ways to make your tank more automated. Look into auto top off units this way your salinity wont swing from evaporation. A good heater can keep things in the proper temp range and they make pretty reliable automatic fish feeders too. If you have a big enough refugium attached then you can get away without feeding for several days with no ill effects.
There are also monitors for PH,ORP,Salinity,PO4,temp, and many other things you can attach to a controller along with dosing pumps wich is then run through your computer so that you can access your system any where in the world via internet or phone. Look into an apex controller if you have the money. If not then you may need to train or hire a person to assist during your excursions.
Also make sure you know the product you are going with so do your research. You most often get what you pay for so try not to skimp. In most instances it is cheaper to hire some one.
Thanks for the post. I hoped to not make this a science project. I liked the idea of a float-activated top-off tank, and a webcam would be ok to set up. But I think that too much reliance on technology in a salt-water environment sounds like trouble.
I agree about "relying" on the technology but having it available for the purposes of your extended departures seems like it may be of some benefit...Or at least some thing to look into.
On another note you can add a drain to your skimmer that leads into a 2 liter bottle incase you are not there for emptying. I would recomend a large amount of live rock as that will assist in stability of water conditions. And as was mentioned a simple auto top off system for salinity issues. You can also add a pouch of chemi pure when you leave to give you some elbow room.
In my opinion, Auto-top offs and Auto-feeders seem like they'd be a necessity in your situation. I would also consider getting an Oversized Skimmer and including a drain like previously mentioned. It definitely could be a good idea to have a brother, spouse, mom or even a neighbor to pop in halfway through your trip to feed pre-made cups of food, empty a skimmer cup or in the event of a loss net out a dead fish. You also might want to consider a few "Hardy" species of inverts and keep artificial difficult ones...
Good Luck Friend
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